A senior BBC executive has quit his post after promoting a young journalist with whom he was having a clandestine affair. Business and Technology Editor Tim Weber’s relationship with blonde Katia Moskvitch came to light only when she took up her new position as a senior broadcast journalist. The BBC has confirmed that Mr Weber, 50, who earned £140,000 a year at the Corporation, was one of four people on a panel that interviewed her for the job in January.
Ms Moskvitch, 30, who had been an online reporter at the BBC since 2009, was promoted in February. Mr Weber denies he was in a relationship with her at the time of her interview. But Ms Moskvitch’s husband, Canadian Yannick Ducret, is adamant that Mr Weber had already begun the affair at the time she was interviewed, claiming he found romantic emails from Mr Weber on his wife’s computer three months before.
Mr Ducret, 30, a Formula 1 engineer, challenged his wife over the emails last December and says she confessed to the affair. After Ms Moskvitch’s appointment, the affair became the talk of the BBC online newsroom, with some journalists feeling that Mr Weber should not have sat on the interview panel. Mr Weber is a respected figure in the digital world and his departure from the BBC after 20 years’ service has shocked colleagues.
He will leave the Corporation next month to take a job in PR. Russian-Canadian Ms Moskvitch came to Britain with her husband five years ago. They have a four-year-old son.
Yesterday, Mr Weber confirmed that he was leaving his wife, Ann, 49, for Ms Moskvitch, but denied their affair had been going on when he promoted her. Speaking at the home in Thames Ditton, Surrey, that he still shares with his wife, Mr Weber said: ‘It’s total nonsense that we were having a relationship when she was appointed.
‘Our relationship has only started in recent weeks. She was a friend of mine at that time, that’s all. Her appointment has nothing to do with our relationship.
‘I stopped being her line manager recently because of our involvement, after I told my line manager about it. I have been planning to leave the BBC for some time.’
Ms Moskvitch said: ‘I have been in a relationship with Tim since March, when I started my job. I knew Tim before I applied for the promotion, we had a few lunches together, but then I have lunch with a lot of people.
‘When I started the job, Tim was very supportive, we have known each other for two years.
‘I think that there are jealous people in the newsroom who want my position and they are the people who are spreading these rumours.’
Mr Ducret blames the BBC boss for wrecking his marriage and is in the process of divorcing Ms Moskvitch on the grounds of alleged unreasonable behaviour.
Shortly before serving divorce papers on his wife, Mr Ducret confronted Mr Weber on the telephone. He said: ‘I knew his name and I called him. I just had to. I had seen all their love letters and my wife had admitted the relationship.
‘It was a difficult conversation. He knew who I was and he seemed embarrassed. He kept saying, “You’re making the wrong assumptions. We’re friends, we work together.” ’
Mr Weber’s wife, who is a press officer for the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, declined to comment.
A BBC spokeswoman said: ‘We don’t comment on personal matters, but the BBC is satisfied that the interview process was fair and that nothing improper has occurred in the selection of that particular candidate for the job.
‘Once the BBC became aware of the relationship, in accordance with BBC guidelines, line management responsibility was moved.’
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